1991 - Acrylic on canvas - 51¼ x 38¼in
1974 - Acrylic on canvas - 25 x 31¼in
Julio Le Parc (Mendoza, 1928)
During the 1960s, Julio LE PARC was at the origin of numerous aesthetic practices that are of great importance today. In 1960 he was co-founder with Morellet, Sobrino, Yvaral and others of the GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visual) in Paris. The works from 1959 to 1971 rely on dematerialization, perceptive haze, formal reduction, artificial lights, environments, the audience’s implication, and varying levels of vision. These elements have become of crucial importance for several contemporary artists.
Other works by LE PARC, shown this year at the MOCA in Los Angeles and at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, reveal a language that is at once minimalist and complex and in opposition with classical abstract compositions. The perpetual movement in space and time, which lies at the heart LE PARC’s work cannot be captured by photography, and can only be grasped in vivo.
In 1972, after LE PARC has already become a well-respected artist with these artworks, Jacques LASSAIGNE, the director of the Museum of Modern Art of Paris, suggests a large retrospective exhibition of his works from the years 1959 to 1972. However, the ambiance remains anti-institutional and, after having weighed and explored the pros and cons of this show in a long text, LE PARC declares that he is “incapable of making a decision”. He decides to flip a coin: heads he accepts, tails he refuses. On one fateful Saturday in April, the artist’s young son tosses a coin into the air in front of witnesses at the museum. The coin lands tails up and the exhibition doesn’t take place. In the decades that follow, LE PARC’s work takes another direction and it is only at the end of the 1990s that his work retrospectively gains new life, alongside with the revival of perceptual art. Let us imagine today—without making any presumptions regarding the curatorial intentions some forty years ago—that the coin lands heads up and that the cancelled show is now taking place.
“Le Parc was a bit of everything and the opposite of everything, there was and is in him a feeling, an almost religious inspiration regarding light that has continued to possess and consume him and has never abandoned him”Giovanni Granzotto